Jake Hager was set for his second professional MMA fight, and second with Bellator at Bellator 221. He was taking on T.J. Jones, who became a folk hero to some, for his attitude before the fight saying he has to book the time off work from the beef plant he works at.
Although Hager did win the fight there was controversy to it. The former WWE star held onto the choke for a few seconds after the ref tried to jump in. However, Hager says he didn’t do it on purpose.
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Hager told reporters post-fight at Bellator 221 (h/t MMAJunkie). “I legitimately thought that was him pushing on my arm, and I had specific instruction before in the locker room, from the referee who was a very large man, he told me he would get me off him.”
Leading up to the fight, Jones was posting jokes about Hager on social media. Then during fight week he kept up his antics which got under the now 2-0 pro’s skin.
“I would be lying if I said it didn’t get under my skin,” Hager said. “From the moment he took the fight he was on Facebook. He had some good jokes, and then he had some stupid jokes, and it did get under my skin. Then he came here, and he kept up the antics. I don’t appreciate that, but in the end, I’m a professional.”